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  1. Protein Power: Find your fuel

    After your surgery, protein shakes will be what provides you with nutrition. If one protein shake doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps makes you nauseous, then try another. There are lots of choices and lots of flavours, so there is no reason to suffer! At AMS Nutrition we know everyone has different tastes which is why we have a large range of flavours and products on offer.

    Once you can begin adding solid foods back into your diet post-surgery, the main rule? Eat protein first.

    Protein recommendations, post-bariatric surgery

    Protein intake depends upon the recommendations of your surgeon. General guidelines are as follows:

    Post-surgery intake varies from 55 to 100+ grams, depending upon individual needs and medical recommendations

    • Women typically need a minimum of 50 to 60 grams
    • Men typically need a minimum of 60 to 70 grams

    Preferred sources of protein include:

    • Poultry
    • Eggs 
    • Lean meat
    • Fish
    • Low fat cheese
    • Skim milk
    • Beans and lentils

    Why protein?

    • Protein is the only nutrient that repairs and builds tissue. You need to heal the wounds of surgery, so going into surgery with adequate protein and continuing the habit after surgery will foster a healthy recovery.
    • Protein is essential for your immune system. Your ability to fight of infections is critical after a surgery, as well as during the flu season!
    • Protein is what our muscles need to exist! Amino acids are the building blocks for our body mass, not only our muscles, but our liver, brain, skin blood , etc. To avoid having thinning hair during the rapid weight loss phase, be sure to get adequate protein.
    • A protein rich diet can lead to improved body composition and increased metabolism. Muscle burns 8 times the calories that fat on your body does. As you lose the fat and retain the muscle, you can ensure long term weight maintenance with your lighter, lower fat body.
    • Protein keeps you feeling full, and dampens blood sugar highs and lows. Eat some protein with carbohydrates and fat and you will be satisfied for longer.
    • Protein fuels fat burning. As you lose weight, your body loses fat and muscle. To preserve your muscle tissue, consume adequate protein and do strength training exercise. You still need to have carbohydrate and fat in your diet, to spare the protein for its essential body functions. Do not be afraid to eat a balanced diet with healthy starches, fruits and vegetables, and healthy lipids.

  2. What you need to know about vitamins

    When it comes to weight loss surgery, vitamins are no longer created equal. Whether it is due to pre-operative deficiencies or the changes in the ability to absorb nutrients post-surgery, it is vital to understand what support your body will need to maintain a healthy body and mind.

    WLS Guidelines for supplements (as a general indicator)

    Take responsibility for your own health by having your bloods done, and then keep it in check by committing to take high quality vitamins and supplements.

    Gastric Band

    • Adult Multivitamin
    • Iron based on blood results

     Gastric Bypass (RNY)

    • Adult Multivitamin (including folate)
    • Sublingual B12
    • 1000 mg Calcium as Calcium Citrate (+ 200 mg in food)
    • 0 – 60 mg Iron 


    • Adult Multivitamin
    • Sublingual B12 
    • +/- Iron

    Get to know your forms

    It is important to note that different forms have different features, costs and absorption levels. All of our vitamins have identification about which surgery types the product is best suited for.

    Chewable – easy to swallow, need adult dose

    Tablet – most readily available, size difficult at times, generic brands sometimes have outer shell that makes absorption difficult

    Capsule – can be swallowed whole, or opened and contents mixed into soft foods

    Liquid – easy to take, sometimes strong-tasting

    Sub-lingual (under the tongue) – made to absorb slowly

    Vitamins which have been specifically formulated for WLS patients are both necessary and superior to generic vitamins that can be purchased over the counter. It's important to ensure you have the right form for your surgery type too.

    If you're not sure whether you need vitamins consider these, just some of the reasons for nutritional deficiency post surgery:

    You eat less food

    • Eating less food means less nutrition
    • With fewer calories, it’s harder to get what you need
    • If you started low and eat less, it’s hard to catch up! 

    You may eat different food

    • For example, fewer carbs = less folate
    • Avoiding dairy can mean less calcium
    • Having a hard time eating meat means less iron, zinc and protein 


    • A procedure like a VSG or RNY will change how you digest food 
    • A procedure like a RNY will cause you to malabsorb some nutrients
  3. 6 Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery Patients

    The question was asked: “Why can one patient who has this surgical procedure maintain weight loss year after year, and another patient, who has the identical procedure, lose substantial weight and regain it?”

    Colleen Cook's study spanned the experience of thousands of weight loss surgery patients and discovered 6 common habits- the 6 success habits, that regardless of surgery type resulted in success.

    The Six Success Principles:

    1. Personal accountability
    2. Portion control
    3. Nutrition
    4. Fluid Intake
    5. Regular exercise
    6. Vitamins and supplements


    “I recognise that I alone am responsible for my successes and failures”

    • Take responsibility for who, for what, and for where you are right now
    • You are where you are right now because you have chosen to be so. Your life must be serving you in some way, or else you would have already made a change
    • You and only you are responsible for what you eat, when you eat, how much you eat…and why you eat


    • Regular weighing – ignorance doesn’t change reality (‘you weigh what you weigh’)
    • Goal setting – if we write goals down, we can accomplish them
    • When I am successful it is because of my actions and my behaviour


    “I understand the importance of satiety and listen to my body’s signals.”

    Hunger- the primary physiological drive to find food to eat – a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by a lack of food
    Appetite- the desire to eat, little to do with nourishment – stimulated by sight, smell or thought of food
    Satiety – the state of being full or gratified to or beyond the point of satisfaction


    • Weight loss journal – when hungry? circumstances? cravings?
    • List of foods – feel full vs not full. Adjust meals accordingly
    • Eating the right volume at one meal
    • Eat adequate protein
    • Slow down! Eat only – be mindful
    • Chew food thoroughly
    • Use small plate and small utensils
    • Avoid snacking and grazing


    “I make good healthy food choices each day.”

    • PROTEIN: stays in body longer, digests slowly, stabilises blood sugars. Eat it first
    • Complete (animals) and incomplete (legumes)
    • VEGETABLES: important, essential source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, low in fat and calories
    • CARBOHYDRATES: Eliminate most simple carbs to encourage body to utilise its fat stores for energy


    “I drink the right amount of the right beverages at the right time each day.”

    • Staying hydrated - thirst often disguises itself as hunger
    • Caffeine- Amplifies stress consistently throughout the day (which contributes to unhealthy eating habits), stays in body for up to 6 hours, raises BP, stimulant that can increase hunger, decreases bone density…try decaf ☺
    • Alcohol – high in calories, rapid rate of absorption, affects inhibitory centre, transfer addiction can occur
    • Plan to consume 1.5 + litres/day of low calorie fluids


    “I have adopted the habit of exercise as part of my lifestyle.”

    • Physical activity helps to maintain optimal cognitive function and neurotransmitter release – feel good factors (serotonin / 5 HTP) Also improves cerebral blood flow (clearer thinking), sleep quality and immunity
    • Activity is critical to help maintain the balance calories in vs calories out
    • Identify excuses and rationalisations not to do physical activity- what are the obstacles that are stopping you from exercising?
    • Current NZ guidelines - 150 min/week of moderate intensity activity


    “I take good quality vitamins each day to ensure my good health.”

    After surgery:

    • Fewer nutrients are eaten, less stomach acid, and some nutrients require acid for processing (ie Iron), less Intrinsic factor for Vit B12 absorption
    • Bypassing duodenum, responsible for primary absorption of many micronutrients – nutrient deficiency
    • Nutritional supplements - best absorbed if taken with food
    • Vitamins which have been specifically formulated for weight loss surgery patients are both necessary and superior to generic vitamins that can be purchased through prescription or over the counter

    There will be good days where you own all 6 of them and other days where you may struggle with one or two. But the key is to be mindful of what you need to be doing and using these
    Success Habits as both the structure and an anchor to keep your behaviour supporting your goals of healthy living.